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#26 Terry Denham

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 02:28 PM

In order that members could properly evaluate the issues discussed in this thread, I took up the lack of information problem with CWGC today as I also thought it would be useful to have advance notice of such events. The response was as follows...

CWGC's responsibilites in respect of these burials is as follows:-

When informed of the requirement for a burial, they must:-
(1) Select a burial site
(2) Prepare a grave
(3) Supply a headstone
(4) Maintain the grave thereafter

The responsibility for the funeral belongs to MoD or equivalent Commonwealth country department. This includes the decision on any public announcement of such events - whether they be named or unknown casualties. On the rare occasions when the casualty is identified, the next-of-kin sometimes request that no announcement be made.

It is MoD that bears responsibility for the issuing of any PR information to the press or to interested parties and not CWGC. It seems that MoD does not always believe this to be necessary.



#27 seadog

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 03:29 PM

Terry thanks for that, I am however no wiser. This subject just continues to grow. Firstly it would be nice to know how you got a response when the commission has made no effort to answer my two mails both sent through the contact facility on their website. With the case of the commission not having the responsibility of notifying us, the general public of any interments how come the Rifles were informed by the commission as detailed in the mail published in this topic as:

“We have been advised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that the burials of 2 sets of remains belonging to soldiers of the Gloster Regt will take place on 29th April 2008, timings below. Lt Col Tim Lerwill, OBE will be representing us in his capacity as the Rifles Secretary (Salisbury Office)”

I appreciate that you are not in any way responsible for the guidelines as set down by the commission so none of this is aimed directly at you. Surely it is not beyond the commissions wit and skill to use the “latest news” part of their website to inform the rest of us when such occasions happen. After all just because something has been done like this for years does not mean it is the right way. I have a sad feeling that this topic will “fade away” and the same thing will happen again. This really is not good enough.

Norman

#28 Tynesider

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 11:05 PM

I'd like to add my concerns to John's regarding the apparent lack of respect that appears to have befallen this poor chap.

I've just returned from taking a small party around the Somme, visiting the Lochnagar crater and the location where Pte Nugent (Tyneside Scottish) was discovered some years ago. We then moved on the Ovillers cemetery to visit his grave. On arrival we too discovered that there had been a recent burial some five plots down. To my horror there standing on the actual grave was a man crouching taking photo's of the new headstone. I don't have a problem with that as we all take photos of headstones, but I do with someone stood on the actual plot which is in the process of settling down. I asked him to move off and pointed out that he had now caused the newly laid turf, (which had already dried out in the recent heat) to be pressed several inches into the ground! His excuse was that he was trying to get a good picture.

I spoke later to the owners of the house I'd rented and they had only heard of the burial after the event, even though they live on the Somme and have close links with the various sites. Shame really.

Martin



#29 PBI

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:42 AM

http://www.cwgc.co.uk/


To All who have Contributed so Far,You may find the above link worth a Look.Regards.

#30 seadog

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 12:29 PM

Martin, thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I also thank you for speaking to the person who showed such a lack of respect before the Glosters grave. Just maybe he will have learnt a valuable lesson. That the good people who owned the house that you were staying at were also not aware of the interment comes as no surprise. Whether the CWGC will take any notice of our concerns is of course another matter.

Norman

Edited to add this link

A Gloster who came through
http://www.flickr.co...57601071707940/

#31 PBI

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 04:31 PM

It will be Interesting to see the CWGC response if and when any Identifiable Human remains start to be unearthed from the Pheasant Wood Mass Burial Site at Fromelles.

#32 PBI

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:42 PM

18th Glosters Roll Of Honour.


Alderman, William Pte. No. 204770 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 24 Born: Unknown Enlisted: Aylesbury [Winslow] Bucks. Cemetery-Memorial: Brown's Road Military Cemetery, Festubert. VIII. H. 20. [Son of Mr. And Mrs W. Alderman, Swanbourne, Bucks: Husband of Mary E. Alderman, of "Bandilands", Brackley, Northants] Formerly No. 3328, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.


Atwell, William Thomas Cpl. No. 52347 [K.IA.] 11-9-1918 Age: 44 Born: Dalston, London Enlisted: Tottenham, London. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension. L.1. [Son of Mr and Mrs Atwell, 87 Paignton Road , South Tottenham: Husband of Elizabeth Attwell, 31 Harefield Road, South Tottenham, London] Served with "A" Coy. [Formerly No. 46335, Royal Fusiliers]


Birkett, Harold Joseph Pte. No. 44708 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 27 Born: Liverpool Enlisted: Press Heath Camp. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension N. 18. [Son of the late Joseph and of Ellen Birkett, 33 Gordon Road, Seaforth Liverpool] Formerly No. 86677, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.


Bott, Leonard Howard [Bolt, L.H--SDGW] Pte. No. 53739 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 23 Born: Acock's Green, Birmingham. Enlisted: Ashford [Yardley-Birmingham]. Cemetery-Memorial: St. Mary's A.D.S. Cemetery, Haisnes. X. F. 4. [Son of Sophia Bott, of "Glenmaye", 311 Yardley Road, South Yardley, Birmingham, and the late James William Bott] Formerly No. 4179, East Kent Regiment.


Brookes, Edward Arkell L/Cpl. No. 263002 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 25 Born: Brockworth, Gloucestershire. Enlisted: Cheltenham Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Commnunal Cemetery Extension N. 14. [Son of Mrs. J. A. Brookes, of Gloucestershire] Formerly No. 241077, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.


Budge-Harmer, Sidney George Pte. No. 52350 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Lambeth, London Enlisted: Marylebone, London Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension N. 13. [Husband of Mrs. A. Budge-Harmer, 53 Powney Road, Maidenhead] Formerly No. 20726, Rifle Brigade


Evans, Bertram Lewis Pte. No. 39888 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 40 Born: London. Enlisted: St. Pancras, London. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension. N. 19. [Son of Thomas and Marion Lavinia Evans] Formerly No. 26803, Middlesex Regiment.


Forester, Edwin Pte. No. 53668 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Smethwick, Staffs. Enlisted: Handsworth, Birmingham. Cemetery-Memorial: St Mary's A.D.S. Cemetery, Haisnes. X. F. 3. [Lens-La Bassee] Formerly No. 45162, Worcestershire Regiement.


Green, Frank Rowland Pte. No. 42266 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 19 Born: Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. Enlisted: Cheltenham. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension. N. 15. [Son of William and Mary Ophelia Green, 2 Glenorah Villas, Cleve View Road, Cheltenham]


Hamlin, A. Pte. No. 42115 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Unknown Enlisted: Bristol Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemtery Extension. N. 12. [Husband of Mrs. B. F. Hamlin, 7 David Street, St. Philips, Bristol]


Hawkes, Alfred George Pte. No. 204610 [K.I.A.] 18-9-1918 Age: 22 Born: Hackney, London. Enlisted: London, E.C. Cemetery-Memorial: Loos Memorial. Panel 60 to 64. [Son of Henry George and Eliza Hawkes, 5 Conrad Street, Hackney, London] Formerly No. 1694, City of London Regiment.


Higginson, Thomas Pte. No. 44822 [Died] 24-10-1918 Age: 19 Born: Bamber Bridge, Lancs. Enlisted: Blackburn, Lancs. Cemetery-Memorial: St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. S. II. DD. 10. [Son of Geoffrey and Ann Ellen Higginson, 204 Blackburn Road, Great Harwood, Blackburn.] Attached 2nd Employment Base Depot. Formerly No. 8786, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.


Holt, Joseph Henry CSM No. 52315 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 28 Born: Chilverston, Warwickshire. Enlisted: Nuneaton. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly Communal Cemetery Extension. J. 14. [Son of Fred and Mary Holt: Husband of Daisy Olive Holt, 84 Attleborough Road, Nuneaton] Awarded Croix de Guerre [France]. Formerly No. 10484, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.


King, William Pte. No. 53526 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: St. Anthony's, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Enlisted: Newcastle. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension. J. 12. [Son of Mr. J. King, 9 Ropery Walk, St. Anthony's, Newcastle-on-Tyne] Formerly No. 316610, Northumberland Fusiliers.


Leach, Edward George Pte. No. 203673 [Died] 11-9-1918 Age: 32 Born: St. James, Hereford. Enlisted: Herefored. Cemetery-Memorial: Carvin Communal Cemetery. II. C. 3. [Son of George Edwin and Elizabeth Leach, 50 St. Guthlac Street, Portfields, Hereford. Born in Hereford] Formerly No. 3905, Herefordshire Regiment.


Light, Richard William Pte. No. 203980 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 31 Born: Chatham, Kent. Enlisted: Stratford, Essex. Cemetery-Memorial: Loos Memorial. Panel 60 to 64. [Son of Richard William and Ellen Light, 10 Lord Street, Silvertown, London]


Lowndes, Edmund Harold Pte. No. 42111 [K.I.A.] 18-9-1918 Age: 19 Born: Westminster, London. Enlisted: Bristol [Compton S.O., Glos]. Cemetery-Memorial: Loos Memorial Panel 60 to 64. [Son of the Rev. A.T. and Annie Lowndes, of Compton Abdale Vicarage, Cheltenham]


Mahoney, John Thomas Pte. No. 32699 [Died] 18-9-1918 Age: 19 Born: St. James, Bristol. Enlisted: Bristol. Cemetery-Memorial: Loos Memorial Panel 60 to 64 [Son of Mrs. M. Mahoney, 14 Charles Street, St. James, Bristol]


Merrell, Oliver George Pte. No. 53675 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 18 Born: St. Peter's, Worcester. Enlisted: Worcester. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension. N. 16. [Son of Alfred John and Sarah Jane Merrell, 160 Herbert Road, Small Heath, Birmingham: Native of Worcester] Formerly No. 50606, Worcestershire Regiment.


Mills, Charles Frederick Pte. No. 53749 [Died of Wounds] 14-9-1918 Age: 32 Born: Newport Pagnall, Bucks. Enlisted: Bletchley, Bucks. Cemetery-Memorial: Pernes British Cemetery. VI. B. 25. [Son of George Thomas and Rose Ella Mills, 7 London Road, Newport Pagnall, Buckinghamshire] Formerly No. 5989, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.


Mills, Percy Sidney. Pte. No. 53601 [K.I.A.] 19-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Minchinhampton, Glos. . Enlisted: Stroud, Glos. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery. L. 2. [Son of Mr. G. H. Mills, of Hyde Hill, Chalford, Stroud, Gloucestershire] Formerly No. 24367, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.


Mullin, John Pte. No. 204696 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Unknown Enlisted: Pontefract, Yorkshire. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery. J. 13. [Brother of Miss. J. Mullin, 20 Church Street, Basford, Nottingham] Formerly No. 4201, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.


Parry, Albert Edward Pte. No. 34836 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Cheltenham. Enlisted: Cheltenham. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension. N. 17. [Son of Mr. F. Parry, 2 Millbrook Terrace, Gloucester Road, Cheltenham]


Pearce, Claud Edward Charles Pte. No. 266581 [Died] 21-9-1918 Age: 18 Born: Unknown. Enlisted: Bristol. Cemetery-Memorial: Houchin British Cemetery. III. E. 22. [Son of Charles and Theresa Charlotte Pearce, Fishponds, Bristol]


Phillips, George Henry CSM No. 52319 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 26 Born: Gateshead, Co. Durham. Enlisted: Newcastle-on-Tyne. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension. J. 15. [Husband of Mrs. J.S. Phillips, 6 Fowler Gardens, Dunston-on-Tyne, Gateshead, Co. Durham] Formerly No. 11851, Durham Light Infantry.


Pollard, John Herney Pte. No. 33982 [Died-Home] 2--12-1918 Age: 19 Born: Yealmpton, Devon. Enlisted: Plymouth. Cemetery-Memorial: Wadsley Churchyard [Yorkshire]. Formerly No. 15346, Devonshire Regiment.


Price, Alfred Percy Pte. No. 12103 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 29 Born: All Saints, Bristol. Enlisted: Cheltenham. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension. N. 21. [Son of James and Martha Fanny Price, of Stoke's Road, Bishop's Cleve, Cheltenham]


Rees, John Walter Pte. No. 53550 [Died] 19-9-1918 Age: 39 Born: Normanton, Yorkshire. Enlisted: Birmingham. Cemetery-Memorial: Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez. VIII. H. 25. [Son of Thomas and Thirza Rees, Normanton, Yorkshire: Husband of Kathleen Mary Rees, 9 Park Retreat, Suffrage Street, Cape Hill, Smethwick, Staffs] Served with "A" Coy. [Formerly No. 28895, Royal Warwickshire Regiment]


Richardson, Arthur James Pte. No. 22985 [K.I.A.] 26-8-1918 Age: 37 Born: Kempsey, Worcs. Enlisted: Birmingham. Cemetery-Memorial: Cambrin Churchyard Extension [Grave in front of Row T] [Son of Mary Richardson and the late Thomas Richardson, Brookend, Kempsey, Worcester]


Smith, Ernest Alfred Pte. No. 39890 [Died of Wounds] 15-8-1918 Age: 36 Born: Horsmonden, Kent. Enlisted: Picadilly, London. Cemetery-Memorial: Pernes British Cemetery. VI. B. 30. [Son of Charles and Emily Smith, Horsmonden, Kent] Formerly No. 5808, County of London Regiment.


Smith, William Pte. [L/Cpl. CWGC] No. 204407 [Died of Wounds] 13-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Liverpool. Enlisted: Finsbury, London. Cemetery-Memorial: Pernes British Cemetery. VI. B. 24. [Formerly No. 266357, Royal West Surrey Regiment]


Sunaway, Andrew Pte. No. 260021 [K.I.A.] 19-9-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Barking, Essex. Enlisted: Barking. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery. L. 3. [Formerly No. 5852, London Regiment]


Thomas, Austin James A. Sgt. No. 20674 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 34 Born: Plymouth. Enlisted: Bristol. Cemetery-Memorial: Loos Memorial. Panel 60 to 64. [Husband of Alice Amy Thomas, 2 Narrow Plain, St. Philips, Bristol]


Weatherhead, Frank Anthony Pte. No. 204506 [Died of Wounds] 2-11-1918 Age: Unknown Born: Reading. Enlisted: Ipswich. Cemetery-Memorial: Taintignies Communal Cemetery [Belgium] C.4.


Webb, John William Pte. No. 53754 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 19 Born: Ipswich. Enlisted: High Wycombe. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery. N. 20. Son of William and Laura Webb, 5 Hill Side View, Chalfont St. Giles: Native of Eyke, Woodbridge, Suffolk] Formerly No. 31026, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.


Wells, Thomas William Pte. No. 267064 [K.I.A.] 19-9-1918 Age: 27 Born: Farley, Hants. Enlisted: Romsey, Hants. Cemetery-Memorial: Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery. L. 4. [Son of Mary Ann Wells, of The Square, Braishfield, Romsey, Hants, and the late James Wells: Native of Farley, Chamberley, Romsey]


Whiteman, George Moody Cassels L/Cpl. No. 53628 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 19 Born: Methil, Fifeshire. Enlisted: Warwick [King's Norton-Birmingham]. Cemetery-Memorial: Vieille-Chapelle New Military Cemetery, Lacouture. VIII. E. 10. [Son of James T. Whiteman, 148 Middleton Hall Road, King's Norton, Birmingham, and the late Alison C. Whiteman. Born at Drumchapel, Dunbartonshire ] Formerly No. 38394, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.


Whitfield, Fred L/Cpl. No. 52641 [K.I.A.] 11-9-1918 Age: 21 Batley, Yorks. Enlisted: Derby. Cemetery-Memorial: Carvin Communal Cemetery. II. E. 1. [Son of Charles and Helen Whitfield, 46 Dexter Street, Derby] Enlisted in 5th Bttn Sherwood Foresters March 1915. {No. 23946} Awarded Military Medal




OFFICERS DIED


Hill, R. Lt. [Died] 24-11-1920 Age: Unknown Cemetery-Memorial: Dawlish Cemetery[Devon] Loc. 389. [There is also a Pte. Russell Hill [29975] of the Somerset Light Infantry listed on NA-MIC. Pte. Hill was later commissioned as Lt. In Gloucestershire Regiment. Possibly same man]

Compliments of Dave Mruk

#33 Tyneside Chinaman

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 06:34 PM

Good evening all

I think that the whole works has gone down hill since the advent of the internet.

Years ago when writing Tyneside Irish I went through every War Grave register page by page all obtained through the library lending system for a week at a time. Now its look up one at a time with out much effort.

At the end I was about twelve or so men missing and I wrote to the CWGC and received nothing but help. The young lady at that time was very keen and gave me a lot of assistance and with her help I managed to get six men added on to the Thiepval Memorial, one onto Arras and two grave stones erected in County Durham. Only one was rejected for although I had a description of his death and an entry is SDGW there was nothing else no Death cert, no St Georges Gazette entry or newspaper or memorial that could be traced. The others were misspellings etc.

Those days I had to be patient, now it seems every one wants it done instantly, and many want someone else to do it for them. The thing that is missing is the personal touch and the rapour that builds up when you speak to someone on a regular basis. There was little understanding of regimental numbering then and 27/1014 Thomas Hall was recorded but 25/1014 William Hall wasn't. As the battalion prefix is often dropped I had a heck of a job convincing them it was two different men. When you live in Maidenhead, Shields and Gateshead are suberbs of Newcastle.

I definitely agree that the communication of events could and should be much better.

Possibly things are dumbed down to prevent the circus I described in my first post or as in Tynesiders post, imagine having laid the turf only to have to come back and do it again. Why not use a zoom lens.

When Private Nugent was found and I was involved by the MOD not CWGC. The MOD, because of the assistance I had given them, gave permission for me to publish the story in Tyneside Scottish. The day before the funeral I was with the BBC Look North crew at the CWGC in Arras, A CWGC official, who didn't know me, actually said words to the effect, "some bloody amatuer historian has let this out of the bag", I bit my tongue as I didn't want to argue, the proof though was that there must have been over 1,000 people there that day, many coming specifically for the funeral. He had missed the fact that it had been in national and local papers also when they were looking for relatives.

God that was a rant if I bored anyone I apologise.

regards

John

#34 PBI

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 08:48 PM

A Great Rant John,My Dad and I Attended Pte Nugents Funeral.As for South Shields,i have had many a Beer in the Brunswick,and the Schooner.Are they still there ?...Hic.... laugh.gif

#35 seadog

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 08:37 AM

John, call that a rant, no way. I was extremely interested in your points of view in particular the comments attributed to the CWGC official in Arras, how did you refrain from retaliating.

I apologise if I seem to be repeating the same things again but here goes:

1.0 Still no response to my request made to the Commission with regard to notification of interments.

2.0 Terry Denham’s (post 26) was very informative and I will put my suggestion here as it seems that the commission will not respond if I send it to them:

Is it not possible for the Commission and the MOD to agree a notification of interments based on the wishes of relatives of soldiers who have been positively identified and the blanket notification of those souls unknown or for whom just partial identification is possible i.e. Regiment. This notification to appear on the Commission web site for they are the obvious candidate, not the MOD. Am I asking too much, is this simple suggestion beyond the grasp of these two organisations? I reiterate that in my opinion there is a wrong here that needs to be addressed.

Norman


#36 Tyneside Chinaman

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 05:49 PM

Hi

thanks for the replies.

I think that with regard to MOD involvment in these things a few words on the actual department might set things straight a little.

These matters are [or were it may have changed now] handled by MOD PS4 Casualty Section. The primary function of this department is present day casualties and informing next of kin and organising funerals etc. Thus in the last few years because someone had Weally Mad Dreams or was it weapons of mass destruction, the department will have been very busy. I believe it had a strength of four in the early 90's.

Therefore the reburial of WW1 remains doesn't get as much priority as some of us would like, understandably in the circumstances.
They also take a lot of care and convincing that they have the correct name for a casualty. In Nugents case they were not convinced that his number on the razor meant it was Nugent. Arguments put forward were 1 He could have won it playing cards. 2 He could have found it.

To be found with another mans razor at a kit inspection would have meant trouble and who would gamble for a razor. Indeed what swung it was when I pointed out that no soldier would shave with another mans razor for fear of skin disease.

This story has since been made into a BBC radio 4 programme called Footprints 'The Last Post' on 17 July 2003 presented by Frances Fyfield which went through the whole thing from start to end.

regards

John






#37 PBI

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 05:57 AM

With regards to the Discovery and Interment of the 2 Unknown Men of the Gloster Regt,i have a Few Questions for the CWGC/MOD.

1) Where Were these Remains Actually Found ?.

2) When were these Remains Actually Found ?.

3) What Items (Apart from Regt Insignia) were found with the Bodies ?

4) Was there Any possibility that Personal Effects had been removed from the Remains prior to Notification of their Discovery..In Plain Talk had the Bodies been Looted ?,thus preventing Definite and Final Identification.

5) Who Found the Remains and Notified the Authorities ?

#38 seadog

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 06:25 AM

PBI, all valid points and all brought about by the reluctance of the authorities to act in an open and transparent manner in respect of these interments. Yes they were identified, by what? cap badges. What else if anything was found. I would like to think that all of the finds were buried with the human remains. Where were they found? this must be known so why not tell us. The location of the finds may give an indication as to the battalion.

But all of these quite proper questions and concerns all emanate from the total lack of information surrounding the circumstance of the discovery and interment of the soldiers. What is the problem, why have we not been informed as the longer this continues the more likely that misconceptions will occur.

Norman


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Posted 16 May 2008 - 06:44 AM

http://freespace.vir...0scavengers.htm

Some Interesting Points raised here.

#40 seadog

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 04:22 PM

Just one of the reasons that we need and deserve the information available regarding the two Glosters.

BRISTOLS OWN CROSS
12th Battalion
Gloucestershire Regiment
Longueval
The Somme

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#41 BMoorhouse

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 08:21 AM

And welcome to the Forum Jackie and Tim.

No doubt the first of many interesting contributions!

Regards,

Brendon.

#42 seadog

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 11:56 AM



I think it would be useful if I were to summarise the situation with regard to recent interments of the found remains of two WW1 Soldiers identified as being from the Gloucestershire Regiment and the involvement of the CWGC as I understand it to be. I must admit that the actions or rather non-actions of the Commission have left me with a negative impression of their transparency and indeed their attitude towards the general public. The circumstances are that on the 29th April 2008 the interment of remains of two WW1 soldiers took place, one at the London War Cemetery, High Wood and the other at Ovillers War Cemetery both located in the region of the Somme, France. That I and others were made aware of this was entirely due to separate postings on the Great War Forum, the first from a visitor to Ovillers who had seen the new headstone and the second from visitors to the London Cemetery who in this case had seen the preparation of the new grave prior to interment and had assumed that this was in fact an exhumation.

It was only after I had contacted the Rifles Regiment which now includes the Glosters that the facts were made known. The Rifles informed me that they had been contacted by the Commission and informed that the burials of two Gloster Regiment soldiers would take place on the day and at the War Cemeteries as already described. It was indicated to them that these were recent “found” remains and that they were identified by their metal cap badges.

The CWGC website made no mention of the burials both before and after the events. I have contacted the CWGC with regard to their lack of communication twice through their website but no response was forthcoming. There was however a quite detailed posting on the GWF from Terry Denham stating that the CWGC had no responsibility for notifying the public of such interments and that this was entirely the duty of the MOD who may or may not decide to do so.

I can see no reason whatsoever why the interment of recently discovered remains should not be notified to us, after of course obtaining the permission of any surviving relatives if the soldier is identified. This would then give those who so desired the chance to pay their respects to the fallen. The silence from the CWGC with regard to my contacting them is to my mind unforgivable and they should reproach themselves. All of this is still left in the air as we, the general public have not been made aware of the circumstances surrounding the initial discovery of the two sets of remains and this level of secrecy is not acceptable from such a body as the CWGC. I am left with a bad feeling about all of this and my previous confidence in the CWGC is not what it was.

Norman




#43 NigelS

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 01:15 PM

Quote 'seadog' date='May 20 2008, 11:56 AM' post='924070'

"The CWGC website made no mention of the burials both before and after the events. I have contacted the CWGC with regard to their lack of communication twice through their website but no response was forthcoming."

I've just noticed the following under "Latest News" on the CWGC Home Page; This might have some bearing on the lack of response from the CWGC depending, of course, on the date when the enquiries were sent:

"Email Enquiries Submitted via this Website Due to technical problems we have not received e-mail enquiries sent via the website from 24 April to 11 May 2008. Click for details "

Click for details = http://www.cwgc.org/...sid=80&view=yes.

NigelS

#44 seadog

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 01:46 PM

NigelS

Many thanks; I had constantly checked the CWGC "News" and this must have been posted very recently. This is possibly the reason that no response has been forthcoming. Mind you that this error has occurred on their site and they have just noticed it beggars belief! - I mean like 18 days! I will however resubmit the query today and see what happens.

Norman


#45 seadog

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 02:02 PM

Query resent to the CWGC. I received an automated reply which states the following:

Thank you for contacting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Your query is important to us and will be dealt with as soon as possible, however, we are currently working to clear a backlog of some 4 to 6 weeks.

Therefore there may be some delay.


Bold text by me.

Norman

Glad they noticed that something was not right so quickly!


#46 Heid the Ba'

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 02:26 PM

I must be missing something; the CWGC have no remit to notify the public about re-interments so why are people e-mailing them? Surely it is the MOD, an unrelated body, who bear the responsibility? The CWGC have limited funds and a number of tasks they must carry out, we cannot expect them to go beyond their remit. I cannot understand why there is talk of secrecy when the CWGC do not do something they have no duty to do. The two soldiers' names have presumably been, and will remain, on a memorial somewhere which is being maintained. Now they have graves the CWGC will fulfill their duty and maintain those.

The MOD decided, for whatever reason, not to publicise this. They told the regiment which decided not to publicise this. Why do they get off scot free?

Two bodies of unknown soldiers have been moved from unmarked graves into marked graves within cemeteries. I suspect this has happened thousands of times over the years, particularly in the 20s.


#47 Greyhound

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 02:47 PM

I couldn't agree more, Heid. The CWGC carry out their duties impeccably from everything I've heard, seen and experienced. They are not there for researchers, historians and hobbyists, but for the fallen and their families.

I just don't understand what some people want. If burials are notified to the public, then members of the public may well attend. Which then draws comments such as some on this thread like "Disneyland" and "circus".

#48 seadog

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 03:05 PM

The first point of my concern is that I have not yet received an explanation directly from the CWGC as to why they cannot notify such interments to the public via their web site. Apparently their contact facility was non-functional which as you will understand was not evident to the users when posting queries etc. Until such a response is forthcoming I have no idea of what the official view is. As I have suggested in earlier postings on this thread, even if the CWGC feel that they have no responsibility to report these events, what is preventing this situation from being changed so that the public are informed. It will be evident from the response from the Rifles Regiment that they were informed by the CWGC of the arrangements so why not the rest of us?

It seems to me that the CWGC are the obvious organisation to devolve any such information as they and not the MOD are inexorably connected with the burial and care of our war dead. The present situation has lead to confusion with visitors to the two war cemeteries concerned insofar that one thought they were looking at an exhumation and other was surprised to see the new headstone as they were not aware of any recent discoveries of soldiers remains and this in my view this cannot be right. In my view both were reasonable assumptions given the lack of readily available information. The case of these two soldiers in particular are of concern to me insofar that previous to the interment no news whatsoever of their discovery was available as far as I know and the fact that they were both identified as belonging to the Glosters by apparently their cap badges prompts me to ask for more information regarding the finding of their remains.

Norman

#49 seadog

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 03:10 PM

If burials are notified to the public, then members of the public may well attend. Which then draws comments such as some on this thread like "Disneyland" and "circus".


Not from me I can assure you. What exactly is wrong with the "public" attending the funeral of one of those who gave their lives for us. Is it not right that we the "public" have the oppurtunity to pay our respects and give one last thank you to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in our name?.

Norman

#50 Greyhound

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 03:37 PM

I trust the CWGC and (where involved) the regiment to carry out burial ceremonies with all due respect and honour, on behalf of the public. Unless I had a connection with the deceased, the family or the regiment, I don't see any reason to attend.